For many people, 2017 will be considered the year that Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream. No longer an obscure new technology used by a small number of enthusiastic followers, knowledge of their potential value is now widespread and many are looking for the Top 10 Cryptocurrencies for 2018.
Trading different Cryptocurrencies for investment purposes has become normal with many investors making large financial gains over the previous 12 months.
However, in recent weeks, there have been several events that have caused short-term volatility in the prices of various Cryptos. In some cases, the price falls have been dramatic.
Looking forward into 2018, what Cryptocurrencies are likely to weather this storm and come out on top at the end of the year?
The Strongest Contenders
1. Bitcoin (BTC)
This is the original cryptocurrency, emerging in 2008 after it was released by an anonymous programmer or group of individuals under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Although it has increased in value throughout 2017, this is causing problems as the huge amount of people trading it has made its value incredibly volatile, meaning that it is increasingly difficult to use to buy things.
Its value, however, could still be driven higher in 2018.
There are a very small number of cryptos which you can buy directly with fiat currency on trading exchanges. On a Cryptocurrency trading platform, you usually have to buy an established crypto like Bitcoin with fiat currency and then trade that for the crypto you actually want to purchase.
The fact that Bitcoin is still peoples first choice in this regard means that it remains a very important Cryptocurrency in 2018.
This is often seen as the number two option in the Crypto community and is looked upon as Bitcoin’s main rival. However, it is very different to Bitcoin.
It is composed of two parts ‘Ethereum’ which is the underlying network and ‘Ether’ which are tokens sent on the network.
Again, whilst Ethereum is not in use widely by the general public, the fact that you usually have to buy an established crypto with fiat currency and then trade that for the crypto you actually want to purchase means that Ethereum, which is also used in this regard, is likely to continue to be popular in 2018.
3. Ripple (XRP)
This is a Crypto that experienced huge price rises in 2017. Despite appearing to be a competitor to the other major Cryptos, Ripple serves a different purpose and is, in fact, a centralised transaction network which can be used to transfer money just like a bank.
Money sent on the Ripple network is converted into the XRP token on one end and then back into the currency of choice at the other end.
Towards the end of 2018, several major companies began to announce trials of Ripple in its capacity as a payments mechanism. Should any of these trials prove successful in 2018, this could be the first Crypto to be used widely with obvious implications for demand for the XRP token.
However, it is not alone though in its design as a transaction network and has some competition in Stellar.
4. Stellar (XLM)
Launched in 2014 Stellar is different. Whereas most of the coins out there are just coins, Stellar is comprised of two things, the Stellar network, a network that can potentially be used to transfer everything from Dollars to Bitcoin and the other part, Stellar Lumen.
Stellar Lumen were coins created by the founders of Stellar. These tokens can also be sent on the Stellar network to pay for things potentially. But they have another use. There is a fee to send anything (Dollars, Bitcoin) on the Stellar payment network and this fee is paid in Stellar Lumen.
One Lumen is enough to make 100,000 payments though so a little goes an awful long way. When the time comes to sell Stellar it’s the Stellar Lumen tokens you will be selling.
After a slow start, there were several trials announced of Stellar in its capacity as a payments mechanism in late 2017 with the first Stellar ATM due to launch in Singapore shortly. Like Ripple, it faces into an exciting 2018.
5. Monero (XMR)
Monero is an open source Cryptocurrency that was created in 2014. It represents a revolution in Cryptocurrency technology.
It improves on existing Cryptocurrencies as it hides the identity of the sender, recipient and transaction amount using a sophisticated algorithm which has been extensively tested.
In the future, the value of Monero is potentially very strong. Its supply is about the same as Bitcoin yet the underlying technology potentially represents a major improvement on Bitcoin.
The technical structures used to preserve anonymity are stronger than Bitcoin and transaction speeds using the coin are at present much faster than Bitcoin.
Whilst the 5 coins above remain likely to grab all the attention in 2018, the next 5 on our Top 10 Cryptocurrencies list are the ones which could generate some surprises.
6. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
In August 2017 a disagreement between Bitcoin users over its increasing technical limitations led to what is known as a fork of the Bitcoin code. A group of Bitcoin enthusiasts ‘forked’ the token by switching to new software, hoping it could grow and scale in a way that Bitcoin could not.
The result of that fork was the birth of a whole new token, with a whole new circulation and a new public ledger sperate from the original Bitcoin ledger.
Since its inception, the coin has nearly always been in the top 10 Cryptocurrencies. It has yet to overtake Bitcoin but its founders surely hope that their technical efforts will bear fruit in 2018.
7. Cardano (ADA)
Yet another platform used to send and receive digital money, employing the use of its digital token ADA. It was created by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hopkinson in 2015 and is most popular in Japan.
Cardano is managed by an international group of scientists and academics specialising in blockchain technology. Again, should its unique technology result in more adoption it would become an important Crypto to watch in 2018.
8. NEO (NEO)
This is a relatively new Cryptocurrency. It enables the development of smart contracts and assets on the blockchain. Neo’s objective, while ultimately utilising many of the same technologies as Ethereum, is to be the platform for a new smart economy
NEO is compared to Ethereum because the two platforms share similar roles and goals, but the underlying technology is very different.
This coin is in its very early days but is supported by an excellent team and had an excellent 2017 with many investors encouraged by its potential based on the high profile of its founders.
9. Litecoin (LTC)
Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Cryptocurrency. Notable differences between Litecoin and say Bitcoin is Litecoin’s much faster transaction speeds and 84 million token limit in comparison to Bitcoins 16 million. However, it does have a more memory intensive mining process than Bitcoin.
Whilst it is likely to remain popular in 2018, it is facing into an increasingly competitive market. Its speed though means it will likely continue to remain relevant throughout the year.
10. EOS (EOS)
EOS is another blockchain platform aiming to overtake Ethereum as the go-to infrastructure for decentralised apps.
Revealed to the world at the Consensus 2017 event, it is very new and has some way to go to become established.
The platform was created to overtake Ethereum’s low number of transactions per second, which EOS’ founders believed was not high enough to support what would be needed in the future.
EOS can handle up to 50,000 transaction confirmations per second. This puts it ahead way of Ethereum in terms of speed.
One to watch and our final entry to our Top 10 Cryptocurrencies for 2018.
To check on all the current Cryptocurrency prices – CoinMarketCap